Sunday, Jun 04, 2023

Israel: Palestinian Teen Shoots Two In Jerusalem In 2nd Attack In 24 Hours

Israel: Palestinian Teen Shoots Two In Jerusalem In 2nd Attack In 24 Hours

The shooting incident happened barely 18 hours after the shooting in Jerusalem's Neve Ya'akov area in which seven people were killed.

Israeli first responders at the site of attacks in Jerusalem
Israeli first responders at the site of attacks in Jerusalem Twitter/Israel Foreign Ministry

In second such incident in Jerusalem in a day's time, a Palestinian boy on Saturday opened fire and injured two in the City of David area.

The City of David shooting comes barely 18 hours after a Palestinian man killed seven and injured others in Jerusalem's Neve Ya'akov area.

The Neve Ya'akov area shooting has been termed a terrorist attack by Israeli government and the City of David shooting is being treated as a suspected terrorist attack at the moment. The attacks coincide with the Holocaust Memorial Day, which is dedicated to around 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.  

The attacks in Jerusalem are the latest in the long line of attacks inside Israel which have killed dozens over the past year. The attacks also come amid worsening tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians as casualties have mounted lately in Israeli raids in West Bank. 

The second shooting in Jerusalem

The Israel Police said on Twitter that the City of David suspected shooter was shot and overpowered. He has been identified as a Palestinian boy in early teens.

"A short time ago, there was a report of a shooting in the City of David in Jerusalem. As a result of the shooting, there are two wounded. The shooting suspect was neutralised," said Israel Police in preliminary report on Twitter.

The shooting near the historic Old City of Jerusalem wounded at least two men, aged 23 and 47, in their upper bodies, paramedics said. They added that the injured were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital.

The past 18 hours have turned out to be deadliest in Jerusalem since 2008 with seven dead and several injured. 

Israeli police had launched a security crackdown early on Saturday following the attack near the synagogue on Friday in which seven were killed. The security personnel fanned out into the terrorist's neighborhood of At-Tur in East Jerusalem and arrested 42 family members, neighbors, and others close to him for questioning. 

Police Chief Kobi Shabtai beefed up security forces and instructed police to work 12-hour shifts, the statements said, urging the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious.

Rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions

The year 2022 was the most tense in over a decade with mounting casualties in Israel and West Bank in Palestinian attacks and Israeli raids.

With the coming of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's most right-wing and hardline government, the fears were that the situation would escalate. The attacks in Jerusalem come as a major escalation of the conflict. 

Casualties have mounted in recent weeks in West Bank in near-daily Israeli raids. The purpose of the raids, as per Israelis, is to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the region. Just on Thursday, 10 Palestinains were killed in a raid in Jenin in West Bank. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the Israeli personnel came under fire during a "counterterrorism operation to apprehend an Islamic Jihad terror squad" and shot several enemy combatants.

Thursday's raid was deadliest single incursion in the West Bank since 2002. It followed a particularly bloody month that saw at least 30 Palestinians —militants and civilians— killed in in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most of the dead were militants, but youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed, according to AP.

The Friday's attack was identified as a resident of East Jerusalem, which was also the native place of the November bomber who killed one and injured at least 21. 

"East Jerusalem may become a major focal point for the Israeli security services in the coming days and weeks. There have been several major attacks in the last months by people residing in the area. Uday Tamimi, the Jerusalem bomber, and tonight's Jerusalem attacker," said Joe Truzman, a Research Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), in a tweet. 

He further said, "It's significant terror attacks like what happened in Jerusalem tonight that concerns me and how it can lead to a significant escalation between Israel and Palestinian militant groups. This is an event to keep a close eye on."

Palestinians celebrate Jerusalem attacks

The attack on a Jewish synagogue on Friday that killed seven set off celebrations in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where people fired guns into the air, honked horns, and distributed sweets.

Visuals of firecrackers and sweets distribution in celebration of Jerusalem killings surfaced on the internet. 

Following the deaths in Jenin, both the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) had sworn revenge. Hamas is the largest Palestinian terrorist group and controls Gaza and the PIJ is the second-largest Palestinian terrorist group in Gaza. 

Addressing reporters at Israel's national police headquarters, Netanyahu said he had held a security assessment and decided on “immediate actions”. He said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response.

Netanyahu declined to elaborate but said Israel would act with “determination and composure.” He called on the public not to take the law into their own hands.

(With AP inputs)